Arsene Wenger must field a full-strength side against Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday as he aims to end the Gunners’ miserable nine-year run without silverware.
The Premier League remains a dream and the priority, but the chances of beating the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool to the top prize are remote given their troubling fixture schedule over the coming months and the quality of their fellow competitors.
Champions League opponents Bayern Munich will surely be too strong for them when the pair meet in the last 16 of the tournament on Wednesday.
So Arsenal’s best chances of ending their trophy draught comes in the form of the FA Cup.
It would be fitting if they were to lift the trophy in May, as their triumph in 2005 remains their last successful trophy assault.
In the time since then, they have only flirted with glory. They made the Champions League final in 2006 and the Carling Cup final in 2011, but were bettered by Barcelona and Birmingham City on the day.
Playing a weakened side against Liverpool would reek of recklessness and modernity. Of all the managers, Wenger has been amongst a select few to still treat the historic tournament with the respect and recognition it deserves.
Fans would no doubt be fuming if the Frenchman opted to select a second-string side given the humiliating 5-1 defeat to the same opposition just over a week ago.
Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho were outstanding in that game at Anfield, and with them involved will require an Arsenal performance of the highest calibre.
Wenger must now look to shrug off the tag of ‘specialist in failure’ given to him by Jose Mourinho on Friday.
It could start with a win tomorrow, and end with FA Cup glory at Wembley in May.
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